A Declaration

When there is a beginning
worth mentioning, I will
mention it. I will tell you
that I have returned to the source
and after a proper interval has passed
I will tell you that I’ve moved
onto a fresh path. That I’ve dressed myself
in clean clothes and washed myself
deeply for a change. That I’ve cut my hair
to the scalp, that I’ve trimmed my beard
to the chin, that I’ve razed my shanty
and set up a small tent where it stood,
that I’ve cleaned the ancient campfire pit,
relined it with new flat stones and 
rebuilt the tumbled walls. That at night
I tend the fire with great care,
my new face warm before it,
my backside cool behind me
as I turn it toward darkness unafraid
for the first time in six decades,
the first to do so in many generations.

When there is a beginning
worth mentioning, I will tell you
I’ve forgotten
where my family graves are,
what events sparked
my long suffering, where 
desecrations took place.
I will tell you I’ve forgotten
boarding schools,
that smallpox blankets
must have indeed been a myth, that
all those heroic statues
just look like stones with clean hands
and faces, that I can see
how to you any mountain
with such monumental outcroppings
certainly begged for its own carving.

When there is a beginning
worth mentioning, I will tell you
that I’m ready, that I’m
healed at last. I will tell you
that the slurs I’ve heard, the ones
I’ve carried with me everywhere,
are all packed away and dropped,
that the half-measure 
I’ve always taken
of my half-breed self
is brimful now, wholesome
and complete, that I’m together
and at peace;
no longer merciless,
no longer savage.

When there is
a beginning worth mentioning
I’ll let you know. Until then 
I will sit by my fire alone
in these new clothes,
body clean, half warm 
and half cold,
waiting to see
what you do next.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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